A slice of carrot cake anyone? A Post-Valentine’s Reflection

I would style myself as something of a romantic. I admit to liking romance, maybe even to being in love with romance itself (on the assumption it is genderless). I was always taken by the romantic poets, I am a sap for romantic music whether it is rock, pop, classical or dare I say country! I love the romantic genre in all of its myriad guises but I am particularly in love with rom-com…romantic comedies to you the uninitiated. You know the type of movie to which I refer even if your head is dipped deep in a bucket of denial-Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, As Good as It Gets, 10 Things I hate About You, While You Were Sleeping, Legally Blonde, French Kiss (I detect a Meg Ryan pattern emerging there!) and such recent offerings as The Proposal which I happened to watch last night to top off my Valentine’s Day.  Yep, I went there…

Of course I made the mistake of admitting that I did to some colleagues this morning and as you might guess the collective cynic was hard at work within and without NCI! “You must be joking! I wouldn’t watch that $%^&* if you paid me!” etc etc etc. So this got me thinking about the romantic that lurks within us all and how we show that and how it reflects in our personalities. Indeed it got me thinking that how we show and display emotion speaks volumes about each one of us as individuals. I would posit that our attitude to romance is a little window to our soul, a little précis of our life, a little history of our rearing and so on.

I know too well that romance is manifest in many ways and my accusers of which there are many out there would allege that I have too much time on my hands to be trifled with such matters. I disagree. I believe that our sense of and connections with romance in its various shades and hues defines us as individuals, as a community and arguably as a nation. Look no further than our wonderful literary tradition. It is all in how it is manifest. It needn’t always be poetry and flowers, champagne and candle lit dinners (mind you I have no objections to any of these) but instead it could as easily reside in the making of a dinner, a nice walk, a nice conversation, a slice of carrot cake, a not so subtle message, a semaphore etc. The point is-it is there whether we choose to see it or not. Indeed, once in a discussion with a former Antrim GAA manager he told me how in his team talks he used talk in the language of romance and mythology and used reference and allusion to Celtic warriors to inspire his charges on the field of play-they never won anything but that would be to miss the wider point, for I also know that when Wexford last won the Liam McCarthy Cup they too invoked the spirits of former greats and dipped deep into the well of romantic cultural memory.

It is as if romance is at the unconscious level where many of us are concerned. We just need to work a little harder to upgrade our awareness of this innate trait, this undeniable characteristic that is so typical of the Celtic psyche. So if you checked your bank balance today and discovered that you are after shelling out an obscene or even paltry sum of money for scant return then don’t feel bad for being true to yourself but instead have a private chuckle for on all things good, on all things romantic, on all things deep and pithy, you have on this damp and rainy Monday afternoon a firm foothold in the often dodgy field of romantic play.  “Oh I don’t know why I love you but I do…doo, doo, doo doo…”